For Fans Of
After four years in limbo, Pierce The Veil’s ‘Misadventures’ finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel a couple of weeks back. Since its release, reactions have ranged from the ecstatic ‘OHMYFUCKINGGODSOGOOD’, to the universally indifferent phrase of our age – ‘Meh’. Our opinion falls somewhere in the middle. See, Pierce The Veil are a band that ticks all of the boxes for this writer’s tastes… except, well, they are only half-ticks.
First off, this is just more Pierce The Veil, from the poppy, post-hardcore sound, the song-structures, the lyrics, right down to the album’s overall tone. Four years haven’t changed the formula or delivery that much. So there’s that first half-tick right there. This record will definitely appease the die-hard fans that have been screaming for this record for years now, but it’s sure to garner the same lukewarm reaction from their detractors. Now, it’s a decent record, and we’d really hesitate to call ‘Misadventures‘ bad, but it’s nothing new. Now, new isn’t always required, but fuck, we kinda wish the four-piece had thrown us some curveballs. It also didn’t help that some of the songs, like ‘Phantom Power and Ludicrous Speed‘, ‘Bedless‘, ‘Sambuka‘ and ‘Today I Saw The Whole World‘ (great name, boring song) were really bloody lackluster. Just saying.
Secondly, the band’s breakdowns have always been decent, but they really haven’t progressed them from that typical post-hardcore 2008 sound. However, thankfully, they don’t overuse them like a lot of their peers, as, let’s be fair, every In Hearts Wake breakdown is still stuck in 2008. Maybe the band doesn’t want to get too heavy and risk alienating their fanbase, which is understandable. Or maybe they just can’t be arsed – who bloody knows? Another half-tick, anyway.
While Pierce The Veil’s lyrics are nowhere near as cliché or as corny as other bands (see: The Summer Set, Bring Me The Horizon’s last album, and Afterparty), they are predominantly relationship focused. Whether it’s about love-loss, break-ups, being there for your significant other, retrospective musings about what never was – so many of their songs fall under the ‘love song’ banner. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but we can’t help wonder how much more engaging their music could be if was more externally focused, as what the band says with these songs has been said before a thousand times over by a thousand other artists. Third half-tick right there.
Now, we have to sa- oh, sorry, we’ve just got some breaking news coming in with regards to ‘Sambuka‘. Yes, it appears that being in a big, full-time touring band makes it very difficult for one to maintain long-distance relationships when the partner is another state or country! Shocking stuff, truly! You know what that means – fourth half-tick.
If we stop our critique for a second, we must give the four-piece big points for the fast, punchy songs this record offers. They kick-start album #4 with not one, not two, but three of the buggers! ‘Dive In’, ‘Texas Is Forever’ (which is quite possibly the best PTV song to date), and ‘The Divine Zero’ are great as they are just go-go, and then some! Moreover, ‘Floral & Fading’ sounds like a long lost B-side from The Used with it’s slower tempo and melody, and is a terrific change of pace. The very same goes for the poppy, synth-heavy ‘Blue Medal Ribbon’ – another great standout for the record. It was also a welcome surprise to have the final song, ‘Song For Isabelle’, not be a cheesy-ass acoustic track (like ‘Kissing In Cars’ was).
Well played, PTV. We still aren’t ready to love this record, but you get points for effort and what not! Now, back on with the show!
So singer/guitarist Vic Fuentes is a great singer. No way around it. The dude has got some great vocal chops and has a real character to his voice. But with the exception of his throaty shrieks, his high register vocals remains the same as on past records, which is fine, but we can’t work out if it’s how their albums are mixed, how he sings or both, but the spectrum of the group’s sound sorely needs to be filled out more. Much more. Perhaps that’s why ‘Caraphernelia’ was, and still is, such a big hit. You had Fuentes’ high vocals soaring over the band, while A Day To Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon used his low growls to complement their sound perfectly. But without those beefier screams, we find that there’s just something lacking in their sound. If you’ll humour us for a second, Fuentes is a lot like Kendrick Lamar (no, seriously stick with us here) in that he doesn’t have a very bass-heavy voice and at times, it comes off quite paper thin. Now the band’s instrumentals are great, and it’s not like the group doesn’t have bass in their music – they most certainly do – but the instrumentation swallows up the vocals, just not in a good way.
Yep, you guessed it – another half-tick.
Now before we wrap this up, let us just say that ‘Circles’ is a poor excuse for a song dealing with the truly horrible events that transpired at the Bataclan Theatre last year.
…Honestly, we didn’t know the song was about that. We initially thought it was about an angsty teenage couple running away together because no one understands their love, and we didn’t think much more on it. But according to the band, it’s about those terrible events that transpired at that fateful Eagles Of Death Metal concert in 2015. Sure, PTV played that same venue a couple of years back, so there’s obviously a personal connection there for them, which we can respect. However, having a really upbeat, insanely poppy song about the aforementioned subject matter just doesn’t quite feel appropriate, not for that topic. At least not yet, anyway. Then again, maybe pulling a La Dispute and writing a bleak, dynamic track a la ‘35’ or ‘King Park’ wouldn’t have worked out either, due to it wallowing in the sadness. Of course, catharsis is a great way to deal with heavy subjects such as this, but the delivery also has to be just right. Ultimately, we think that PTV are not the right band to talk about this issue and that song doesn’t have the right delivery, either.
There, that can be the last couple of boxes half-ticked for that song alone.
We know, we know! This whole write up makes us sound really bloody indifferent to this record and that’s because we are! ‘Misadventures’ is just more Pierce The Veil in all fairness, and we don’t think the hype around it lived up to the final product. It’s basically the musical equivalent of Watch Dogs. For some, the four-year wait will have been more than worth it and will be hailed as the Second Coming of Musical Christ by some in the scene. Other people won’t give two shits about this, quite frankly. As we said at the start of this review, we’re in that middle zone. The safe, utterly indifferent zone between the two camps of the over-zealous fans and the shit-talking haters.
1. Dive In
2. Texas Is Forever
3. The Divine Zero
4. Floral & Fading
5. Phantom Power And Ludicrous Speed
7. Today I Saw The Whole World
8. Gold Medal Ribbon
11. Song For Isabelle